From: Caspar Bowden []
Sent: 06 December 2000 22:08
To: FIPR News Archive (E-mail)
Subject: BBC Online 12/6/2000: Today Message Board on NCIS-Retentive

Click for a Text Only version of this page

A-Z Index | Search

BBC Homepage

Email of the Day
Email Today

Radio 4
BBC News

Message Board
Over protective parents - New
Big Brother - New
EU written constitution?
Labour and the countryside
Can I be sacked for having 'bad' genes? NEW
Global Warming
More roads?
Privatisation of air traffic control
Government's Europe Policy
Should the fuel protestors back down?
Railway Safety

my BBC


BBC message boards
  Helphelp LoginLogin

Topic: Big Brother - New (55 messages) Login to add messages

The government has confirmed that it's considering a proposal to give the Intelligence services, Customs and Excise and the police, powers to have access to all emails, Internet connections and phone calls made in Britain, and to store the data for seven years. A reasonable use of data or Big Brother watching you?

just titles threaded display

Messages 1 to 25 (by time) out of 55

Mr.   Gordon Dirker - 01:49pm Wed 06 Dec 00
Although the majority of people in the UK seem to be fairly complacent about this infringement into their privacy, (we moved here from the US) I do hope that people will make a major issue out of the scary proposal which has now been put forward. These are measures one [continued]
New Labour, New Ideas, No Idea   Ian Jarmaine - 04:24am Wed 06 Dec 00
I should't worry to much about New Labour and their proposal to store all our emails etc. This government, whilst always full of new initiatives, doesn't have the honesty or ability to carry them to a conclusion. How many crack downs on crime have been pronounced. Yet, after the tragic [continued]
21st Century   Mike Cain - 02:38am Wed 06 Dec 00
Plans to intercept electronic communications are an update of current snail mail interceptions. The plan to maintain intercepted items for seven years begs the question 'How long are current copies kept'. I have no qualms about Big Brother watching, I do however seriously question the competance of the public sector to design and maintain an effective monitoring system. To date no public purchase in this area has come in even on budget and time and there seems to be no repercussions on the civil servants responsible. Over-runs are the norm.In the 21st century, the civil servants should cary the can as it is they who effectively buy the systems and they are no match for the commercial world
1984   Lee Powell - 07:56pm Tue 05 Dec 00
If the scale of the information gathering to 'protect us against criminals' is to cover every living person in the UK, just how much storage space do you think is needed? And how much (tax payer's) money will this cost? A human right to have privacy and the data protection act should hopefully terminate the proposal. If they did get a huge database, the possibility of terrorists/hackers/whoever getting hold of information to corrupt people's lives is too scary to consider. This is crazy, next we'll be obliged to put Telescreens in our houses and have chips installed into our brains so the authorities can locate anyone/record what they're thinking or something!
Overkill or what?   Val Law - 06:39pm Tue 05 Dec 00
Right - no way is this about crime prevention, there is just too great a volume of info. This is control freakery gone mad. And no - I don't have anything to fear - except yet another intrusion into my individual rights to privacy of my personal communications.
Prevention, cure or disease?   David Mottram - 04:58pm Tue 05 Dec 00
Crime prevention is almost certainly not the objective of this proposal. The volumes of data are too great. However, it will make the authorities task of 'proving' guilt easier.

Recent miscarriages show too clearly what will happen. Someone accused, or suspected of a crime will have their records trawled for evidence of guilt, evidence of innocence being, of course, not relevant to the case.

The effect on crime will be negligible - most criminals plead guilty anyway. Sophisticated criminals will find technical solutions - aliases, proxies, overseas addresses, encryption etc.

The effect on convictions will be to increase the number of wrongful ones - which the innocent certainly do need to fear!

Re: What have you to fear?   Iain Rowan - 10:05am Tue 05 Dec 00
Ultimately, why do we fear the state?

Because across the world, every day, states - including our own - give good reason as to why they should be viewed with sceptical distrust, if not fear.

And what are we hiding?

Get a web page. Scan all your bank statements and put them on there. Scan all your credit card bills, your medical records, your love letters, letters to friends and family, every email you have ever sent, a link to every webpage you have ever visited, every newsgroup you have ever subscribed to, put them all on the website. Oh, and a live webcam of your bedroom please.

You'd only object if you have something to hide. So, what are you hiding, really?

Before the Event   Tim Caves - 11:06pm Mon 04 Dec 00
To really work the level of monitoring has to be draconian so that people not yet known as dangerous can be picked up BEFORE rather than AFTER they commit crimes. What's the point of only monitoring people you already know are criminals? But with the past record of schemes like this, I don't think it's really going to work.
Indeed -   J-P Stacey - 10:00pm Mon 04 Dec 00
It's not at all clear what initiative or effort you are referring to. As I've mentioned elsewhere, these measures are all entirely avoidable by both criminals and private citizens. The difficulty is in avoiding them, however, and all they will serve to do is in the worst case violate one's [continued]
Paranoia   Brian R Hughes - 09:32pm Mon 04 Dec 00
Would that my emails were interesting enough for anyone to want to read! I see no great issue here and neither do I mind being watched by a CCTV camera as I wander down the High Street.

If it gives the authorities access to information about law-breakers it is overall a Good Thing. But the sheer volume of information makes me feel safe that even the most evil dictator would never be interested in my drivel. Of course surveillance is open to abuse but so are binoculars and we're not clamouring for them to be banned are we? The safeguards are in our independent(ish) legal system and our democratic(ish) government - the East German experience is not a good comparison to make, they had neither. .

Re: Trust   Michael McKay - 08:28pm Mon 04 Dec 00
I should add that the qote is taken from a Home Office official site regardinhg RIPA but in keeping with the rules I will not quote it.
Trust   Michael McKay - 07:58pm Mon 04 Dec 00
In issues such as this we have to have trust in the authorities who advocate such draconian measures.

So how do we reconcile the NCIS spokesman's arguments with that put forward by his Director General at the time that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers was being debated? At that time he said: "Conspiracy theorists must not be allowed to get away with the ridiculous notion that law enforcement would or even could monitor all emails" Clearly they would and clearly they can.... So how much trust should we place in these people when their public statements conflict with their real intentions?

East Germany   Manuel Duggal - 06:31pm Mon 04 Dec 00
In November 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, the East German regime and the Stasi were exposed for having kept records for over 20 years of all telephone conversations of all its' 17 million inhabitants including opening all personal post. Security cameras were used to observe the population to make sure that they were obeying party rules. The governments' proposal to access emails is no different to the system in the GDR. We must therefore take comfort in the fact that all such systems are ultimately doomed to failure.
mr   simon stock - 06:15pm Mon 04 Dec 00
This is certainly a case of Big Brother watching you, and an infringement of Human Rights. I am shocked and frankly, disgusted.
Straw Poll   Brian Hull - 05:34pm Mon 04 Dec 00
After a discussion on this topic in the office, (Very small sample, 5 people) all agreed this legilislation proposal is outrageous. Given that the use of electonic transactions of all kinds will grow, it follows that many other types of information contained within the transaction packets will also allow for scrutinization by our "Benign Government". For example where video streams are being delivered over the net they will be able to censor out the content they wish us not to have.
Re: How would it work?   Geoff Landergan - 05:33pm Mon 04 Dec 00
"It is trivial to do that ..." - far from it. You cannot determine what is or is not an email message from the packet header.

The difficulties involved in reassembling all concurrent data streams to search for email are immense. And you could not relably verify the addresses from a mid-point.

"That is EXACTLY the legal power they gave themselves in the RIP... " only in respect to internet service providers. The problem is that mail is a peer-to-peer protocol, and the ISPs need have no visibility of the traffic.

Re: How would it work?   Laura Harvey69 - 05:20pm Mon 04 Dec 00
The RIP bill, and this new proposal places the burden of proof upon the individual, not the state. What kind of society operates under the principle of 'guilty until proven innocent'?
Re: How would it work?   Owen Blacker - 05:01pm Mon 04 Dec 00
I have to agree with DavidC Evans (and thus disagree with Jonathan Sargent). Whilst I'm not quite paranoid enough to think that any request for expanded powers (etc) from law enforcement agencies is a bad thing -- obviously their powers need to be updated to take account of technological advancement [continued]
Re: How would it work?   Ken Brown - 05:00pm Mon 04 Dec 00
"It would be technically difficult (unachievable) to attept to identify [...] email messages just by looking at the data on the Internet." It is trivial to do that if you have access to the phone lines & cables the messages are passing through - unless the senders use strong encryption [continued]
Re: MYOB   Ken Brown - 04:50pm Mon 04 Dec 00
The proposal is not to monitor mail. It is to record the details of all electronic communications. This includes mail, and web pages you see, as well as all your phone calls. It would also include details of your use of ATMs, credit checks from shops & things like that.

Re: How would it work?   DavidC Evans - 03:39pm Mon 04 Dec 00
Not only can emails be sent from an anonymous email address from an anonymous internet cafe; phone calls can be made between mobile phones bought in the supermarket with anonymity assured.

Criminals must be wise to this: the only people whose calls and emails will be traced will be those with nothing to hide.

Orwellian Shades   Brian Sowerby - 03:26pm Mon 04 Dec 00
I realise that I have given information to you even in setting up this dialogue possibility, but I did so voluntarily and therein lies the difference between this and the proposals as outlined by the government. I know that appropriate measures are available to the security and police services if [continued]
Look to the future   Michael Thorne - 03:02pm Mon 04 Dec 00
If the authorities assume the right to track our every move and every communication, where will we finish up? There have already been several, understandable, references to George Orwell's 1984. Take a look at where we are now. For laudable reasons we now have video cameras in our streets, roadside [continued]
A question of balance...   Jonathan Sargent - 02:37pm Mon 04 Dec 00
It really is a question of balancing the rights of the individual against the obligations to society. It is difficult to imagine anyone with any caring or respect for individual privacy and basic human rights wanting to monitor e-mail for its own sake. It is clearly being proposed as a sad but perhaps inevitable step in the name of security for our society.

If such monitoring were to prevent a future Lockerbie, or stop a ring of child paedophiles or similar extreme anti-social behaviour, then I suspect that most of us would accept a small infringement on our civil rights for the sake of the safety of a greater number of people.

Therefore, perhaps sadly and reluctantly we have to accept some monitoring of these forms of communication in order that we do offer a greater degree of protection to the whole population. It is quite essential though that such monitoring should be limited and have strict guidelines.

Re: MYOB   Geoff Landergan - 02:28pm Mon 04 Dec 00
The proposal is not that the government should open every letter and take a copy, but that they would photocopy the outside of the envelope.

Also, they won't be listening already because this discussion group uses web (HTTP), not mail (SMTP). The proposal is only to monitor mail.


House Rules   |   About Message Board Hosts   |   Back to Top